Difference Between RCA Audio Cables & Video Cables


RCA audio and video cables are needed pieces to any video or audio system with more than one component. Each cable serves a variety of uses, although their physical makeup is barely different. You can interchange RCA and yellow-tipped video cables with audio and video components alike, yet there are some important differences between the two types of cables.


  • RCA audio cables have two tips, one red and the other white. These tips signify a stereo signal, the red tip being right channel, and the white tip being left. Video cables are usually yellow. They are all colored so you know where they match up with a physical component such as an audio receiver or DVD player.

RCA Function

  • RCA cables provide the possibility of connecting from a stereo source to a stereo output. While there are cables, such as stereo 1/8-inch connector cables, the RCA audio cable gives a true split stereo reproduction. If you only plug in one of the tips, you only get half of the audio signal.

Video Cable Function

  • The video cable creates a direct connection from a video "Out" to a video "In" on a component. This allows you to transmit visual information from one source to another without losing the signal along the way.


  • RCA audio cables connect record and CD players to a stereo receiver unit, mixing boards to audio recording components, and even some computer sound cards to external stereo units. Video cables connect DVD players to television sets, digital cameras to TVs or computer video cards, and other video components in your home theater together.

RCA and Video Combination Cable

  • There are some instances when you would use an RCA audio and video cable combination. When you hook up a DVD player to your TV, you can plug the red, white and yellow tips of the RCA cable into the stereo audio and video input on the back of the set. This is common with audio/video combination units.

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